All-new Ford Ranger debuts

Ford brings back the Ranger	 	 	 			The new Ford Ranger is a mid-sized truck bigger than the compact truck that went out of production in 2011

Ford brings back the Ranger The new Ford Ranger is a mid-sized truck bigger than the compact truck that went out of production in 2011

The annual North American International Auto Show, one of the largest such events in the US, starts its engines this weekend with dozens of new production vehicles and experimental concept cars.

Ford discontinued the Ranger in the North American market back in 2011.The market is home to Ford's best-selling model, the larger F-150 pick-up. Ranger appears to be sharing most of its exterior with the global model, but the front clip design does offer a unique twist that ties the truck to the 2018 F-150.

Expect a fresh exterior, steel front and rear bumpers mounted to the steel frame for enhanced durability, a 2.3-liter engine, a front "bash plate", a 10-speed automatic transmission unique to the segment and a power-train specifically created to satisfy rugged consumer tastes in North America. This 16-valve, dual-overhead cam engine features direct injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger. "The new Ranger is designed for today's mid-size truck buyer, delivering even more utility, capability and technology for those who blend city living with more off-the-grid adventures on weekends". It will include FX Off-Road packages, and in SuperCab or SuperCrew cab configurations, the automaker has said.

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The cabin and dashboard will look nothing like the Ranger you drove in high school. The steel front and rear bumpers are mounted to its frame, while the high belt line, raked grille and windshield, and short overhangs both look suitably purposeful while helping with things like clearing obstacles.

Steering is electrically power-assisted, but the novel Ford Pro Trailer Backup Assist is not yet available (Ford says it's under development for Ranger). Aiming to take a bite out of the midsize truck market, it's a slice of F-150 ability in a more urban-friendly package. The Terrain Management System will control the throttle, transmission, and other vehicle systems to help the Ranger get through various types of terrain, and it will have settings for normal; grass, gravel, snow; mud and ruts; and sand. Think of this as cruise-control blended with a hill-descent control system. It's specifically designed for low-speed, off-road terrain and takes over acceleration and braking.

Both 2WD and 4WD models will have Dana locking differentials, with an electronic locking rear diff available (standard on FX2 and FX4 Off-Road variants).

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Additional features include optional LED headlamps and tail lamps. The truck has a steel frame and steel bumpers. The available Smart Trailer Tow connector makes towing safer and easier by alerting the driver of any faulty trailer connections. Its Sync 3 works off an eight-inch information/entertainment screen. The FordPass Connect 4G LTE link will be on offer as well, and it will provide wi-fi access for up to 10 devices. Technophobes can opt out by selectively not using the system, but on opposite day they can play with onboard WiFi, AC power outlets and USB charging, an optional B&O sound system, and Amazon Alexa integration.

On the safety front, automatic emergency braking is available, and XLT and Lariat trims come standard with lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, a reverse sensing system, and blind-spot warning with trailer coverage. The Lariat model will also come with adaptive cruise control and a pre-collision assist system with pedestrian detection. Pricing will be announced closer to the truck's release early in 2019, with production kicking off at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant later this year. "More than a quarter of Ranger owners trade in their trucks for a small truck from another brand, so this move gives highly loyal truck buyers a reason to stay in the Ford family".

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